As has become my norm for Waitangi holiday weekend early on Saturday morning I pointed the car south and made my way to Lake Rotoiti in the middle of NZ’s North Island. 

2023 marked the 26th anniversary of the event and after a horror week of ‘once in a 100 years’ rain storms I had concerns that the parade might be postponed or cancelled. Well woodys as you’ll see from the above photo gallery, my fears were redundant.

The day started overcast with some light drizzle but this passed thru before the parade kicked off at 11am. Numbers were down a little from last year but conditions were perfect on the lake. 

Enjoy the gallery above – if you’re craft is featured above and you want a high res copy of the photo, drop me an email at the address below. Apologise if I missed your boat or if the odd photo is a little out of focus – just me in a run-about jiggling the throttle, looking out for other boats and holding the camera 🙂

My pick of the boat I’d most like tied up at my imaginary lake jetty is – ELLEN (#14), 26’ in length, built in 2004 in strip planked cedar from a plug taken off an old abandoned hull found in Kopu. Thought to be a ‘Milkmaid’ design by Bailey & Lowe. Powered by a 29hp diesel.  In my eyes just perfect. Photo below

Special thanks again to Dave and Glenys Wilson for the loan of a boat to get me out on the lake.

As always – click on photos to enlarge.

Lastly I never tire of the sound of big V8 (5.7L)  water exhausts. Shawn Vennell, the owner of Judy H, was lining me up for a prop shower – a few words of warning as to what my reaction would be, made him change his mind 😉


Endeavour Gets A Birthday


Todays woody – the 1953 A. Couldrey designed, Brin Wilson built launch – Endeavour is currently out at the Slipway Milford for some serious TLC. The launch as been owned by the Beachman family for many years, originally by Borrie Beachman, then sold to Jack Matich and converted to a motorsailer (photo below) for commercial fishing on the Kaipara Harbour. Borries nephew, Paul Beachman bought the vessel back and returned her to a sedan launch. These days Paul and son Brin look after Endeavour. I’m very happy to see the mast is down, I have been nudging Paul about revarnishing it for years 🙂

Endeavour has made several appearances at woody events and its always cool to see the whole family enjoying the boat.

Link to a previous WW story

03-02-2023 UPDATE ex Harold Kidd – ENDEAVOUR was designed by Bill Couldrey but NOT built by him. Brin Wilson built her for Borrie Beachman.

Mystery Motueka Launch – Awarere


This ones going to be a long shot – the photo above of a newly built launch being transported to Port Motueka comes to us from the Transport (Nelson) Holdings fb site via Brian Mchaffe via Maurice Sharp.

Brian commented that it was from back in the days when the job just got done i.e. no pilot vehicle, no flags. No flashing lights and certainly no cones or a certified trailer.

So woodys anyone able to put a name to the launch and its builder?

UPDATE ex JOHN BURLAND – the boats named Awatere and was built by Keith Calder. Photo below of the launching – the photo comes to us from the Motueka Historical Association via Colin Starnes via Brian McHaffie.

UPDATE EX COLIN STARNES – Awarere built by Keith Calder to his own design. Launched early 1960s originally powered by a Perkins which was swapped out for a 4 cylinder Ford not long after launching. Awarere last noted on Picton Waikawa area. Keith was brother of Don whose launch Graham John recently featured on WW after her fine makeover in Napier – link here


Below as of last night – I understand MCC will be making a decision tonight (Thursday). Dockside chat is that the shore based activities have already been cancelled – TBC

UPDATE 26-01-2023 9.30AM

Mystery Launch On The Waitemata

Mystery Launch On The Waitemata – TAMAKI

Another photo from Brian Peet, the craft was designed and built by Jim Young. Brian commented that he assumes the piece of hardware on the cabin top is the exhaust muffler and if so, then that’s a maritime engineering feature thankfully consigned to the ‘no longer a good idea’ rubbish bin. 🙂

So woodys – what’s the name of the launch, who was it built for and what became of her?

Input ex Brian Peet –  It’s the Tamaki Yacht Clubs patrol boat, imaginatively called ‘Tamaki’.  Designed and built by Jim Young. My father John Peet was Secretary of the TYC, so became the go-between for the club and Jim to get the project underway.

Input ex Neil Chalmers – I found the below extract from ‘’ The Tamaki Yacht Club :  A brief history of its 75 years ‘’ by Frank Davis 13 April 2002.By the way ‘Tamaki’ is moored at OBC and has a blue engine. I think Brian  Peet and I should share the cigar 🙂

25-01-2023 INPUT ex ROBIN ELLIOTT – Neil’s input is correct. Jim Young built her but did not design the Tamaki.

Sea Spray November 1952 page 11. ” At J.H. Young’s yard was the new rescue boat for the Tamaki Yacht Club. She is built to a design by P.W. Willetts and will be finished off by club members.”

I’m not sure when she was actually launched but the second photo appeared in Sea Spray October 1953 page 38. The caption also states that she was a Peter Willetts design. 

As to the exhaust, it is there because she was to rescue and retrieve crews from capsized centreboarders. Most centreboarders of the time could not right themselves (although that was quickly changing) and had to be towed to shore, partly submerged.  

“Note the low freeboard and narrow decks aft, ample cockpit and the exhaust above the cabin top, out of the way of the people being rescued. ….  Power comes from an Austin Skipper.”

WW doesn’t do death notices so you have to have been a good bugger to get one. Well Alan was more than a good bugger he was one of the best. He rubbed up against so many classic boat owners and admirers that I’m sure it will be standing room only at his funeral – 10.30am, Feb 1st, Davis Funeral Home, Henderson.

Our thoughts go out to his partner – Nicky and family.


Mystery Launch + Competition

Mystery Launch + Competition (Posiedon > Bontia)

Yesterday I was contacted by Brian Peet regarding the above photo. I’ll let Brian tell the story-

“My late father’s cousin Graham Hamblin gave me a photo of a launch owned by another long departed family member, Percy Hewitt. We don’t have a name or any other details for the boat, but to my untrained eye, it looks under 30ft long, 1950s with possibly American influences. The bow looks most unusual and not a styling that got picked up by NZ designers to any extent. Percy lived at Bucklands Beach and apparently raced the launch a few times in the Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta”. 

INPUT EX KEN RICKETTS – well that was easier than expected, KR advised the boat was named Posiedon, later changed to Bonita – details here in her 2013 WW story

 So woodys has anyone ever seen this launch before? Might be hard to confirm the accuracy of suggestions, so how does this sound – the most believable / entertaining suggestion will get a WW t-shirt and Lake Rotoiti Classic & Wooden Boat calendar. Suggestions in the WW comments section please. Closes off midnight 21/01/23.

Lady Diana


Woody David Cooke spotted the 1950 Billy Rogers designed and built 36’ launch – Lady Diana earlier this week in Parekura Bay, Bay of Islands. From the photo she appears to be in good hands – looking very smart.

Lady Diana made an appearance of WW back in 2014, link below to view more photos.

To view Lady Diana’s sister ship – Margaret Anne – click below

Can we get an update on what she has been up to in the last 8+ years.

Ngaro Gets A Trip To The Beauty Parlour

Ngaro Gets A Trip To The Beauty Parlour

Woody Olaf Wiig resides off shore these days but as the owner of the rather imposing 1953,Lidgard built 48′ woody – Ngaro as often as he can he hops on the big silver bird and returns home. Then slips the lines and heads out to enjoy the Hauraki Gulf and beyond.

Over winter Ngaro spent a couple of months in the shed at Robertsons yard having her cabin tops and varnish redone. It wasn’t all lipstick – a new water tank was installed + a major engine service and a full new suit of canvas.As I have commented before Bgaio is one of th few woodys that no matter what angel you approach her from, she looks perfect. Well done Olaf and Emma for the custodianship of Ngaro.

See / read more on Ngaro here

Waitematawoodys Burgee Poll Results

Short, clear message here – 92% Say Yes I need to get production underway. More details soon 😉

Classic Woody Summer Cruising – A Game Of Two Halves


Classic Woody Summer Cruising – A Game Of Two Halves

Happy New Year Woodys – WW is back ‘live’ so no more oops boating photos 🙂

On Saturday when I was reviewing and editing the above photos I struggled to believe that we had a xmas/ny cruise, but as they say the truth is in the photos 🙂

I decided to break todays story into two parts:

1. Raindance related

2. Woodys Out & About 

Mostly from my camera but assisted by Barbara Cooke (Bay of Islands), Mark Edmonds (Waiheke), Russell Ward, Jason Prew (upper harbour) and Alan Gilder (Woody Bay Rakino)

Raindance’s cruise / tiki tour mainly consisted of bouncing between Rakino Island and Waiheke Island. Left on 27 Dec and the weather was just stunning with crystal clear, warm water. On 01 Jan the forecast was starting to look very average and most concerning was all 3 weather platforms that I follow were saying the same thing. So early morning on 02 Jan we made the call to up anchor and head home. Turns out that was a good call because for the next 5+ days if it wasn’t raining it was drizzling non-stop + ugly seas and high winds.

So woodys the second half of our planned cruise was sent at home enjoying good food, wine, movies and watching almost every wooden / classic boating video on YouTube.

Very grateful we had 6 days of great weather before we pulled the pin. As an old salt told me once – when it comes to happy family boating – better to have a handful of fabulous days than an abundance of average days – very sage advise.

Enjoy the gallery.


Circle the calendar:

28 January – Mahurangi Regatta launch parade – more details closer to the day

25 February – Stillwater Picnic + Dockside Raft-Up – more details closer to the day

Classic Wooden Boats At Waikawa Marina

Classic Wooden Boats At Waikawa Marina

Following on from last Mondays story where we shared Dean Wright’s recent Southern trip and a gallery of photos from the Havelock marina todays photo gallery comes to us from the Waikawa marina. Some stunning woodys and remember – click on photos to enlarge 😉

A lot of woodys that are new to WW and they will morph into WW stories in their own right.

Enjoy 🙂


The big bridgedecker with 4 ports is RAHEMO (launched as Strathmore), built by Dick Lang.

Others I can positively identify are (from the top):

VECA (Arthur Sang)

VAGABOND (Joe Jukes)





HUNTRESS (possibly McManaway designed/built?)

VARUA (Bob Swanson)

OSPREY (Harold Saunders)

PALOMINO (Bob Swanson)

TOANUI (Roger Carey)

Yacht ANNA JANE (?)

NUKUMEA (American “Bartender” design by George Calkins)

YVONNE (Bob Swanson)


Unknown fishing boat

KATOOMBA (Dorman Engineering, Nelson – not wood, built in Corten Steel!!)

Unknown (possibly Bruce Askew?)

CORYLUS (Bruce Askew)

TAREPO (launched TAREPA)


? (looks like a McManaway or Morgan fishing boat design?)

? (under the covers)

CRISTINA (Athol Burns)


Most of these have featured previously on WW, so a quick look in the search bar will glean more details if interested.

Mystery Lake Okataina Launch – Can We Now Confirm Her ID

Mystery Lake Okataina Launch – Can We Now Confirm Her ID

Back in February 2022 we ran a story, link below, on an unknown launch (2nd photo above) at an unknown location. At the time the location was ID’ed as Lake Okataina, Rotorua. The was a couple of potential ID’d on the launch from the two of the WW wise men 🙂

Harold Kidd suggested it may have been the bridgedecker – Merlin, owned by Beamish-White, that later went to Kawhia

Paul Drake was keen on her being the launch – Karina, that was in commercial service at Taupo in the 1960’s, owned by Jim Story.

Today thanks to Greg Philpott uncovering the top photo from the Archive NZ collection – taken by JG Duncan, we get a much better view of the launch, which was tagged 1951, Lake Okataina – so hopefully we can confirm her name and builder etc

Link to previous WW story